How to measure and assess forest stands? How to determine required management interventions, and how to create a management plan on made assessments? The master students of the tropical forestry program encountered these questions during a recent field trip to the Zittau municipality forest, right on the border between Germany, Poland and the Czech Republic. Instead of only regular lectures, the excursion was built around hands-on exercises and practical fieldwork. The field trip and exercises could be conducted on the base of a recently signed cooperation agreement between the municipality and forest enterprise Zittau, and the TU Dresden.
The weather in early February may not have been exactly tropical, but the various practices demonstrated by Stephen Wolf, a doctoral student of Prof. Bitter (chair of Forest Management Planning) and Dr. Eckhard Auch (lecturer at the chair of Tropical Forestry) are internationally applicable to a wide variety of forest types.
The field trip to the Zittau Municipal forest was designed as a learning-by-doing assignment, integrating the various steps of creating a forest management plan (FMP) from forest inventory, assessment of the forest stand with identification of required management interventions (thinning, harvest, enrichment planting), management planning and calculation of the gross margin for the planning.
In the evenings after the exercises, there was also some time to relax with course mates – or to catch up on some reading for the upcoming exams. The excursion was a nice last project together for the group that has studied together intensively for one and a half years. In the next semester, these students will travel all around the world for their own research projects, and there is an air of excitement and expectation in the group.
Julia Fält-Nardmann, tutor